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Picture Fills for Slide Backgrounds in PowerPoint 2013

Learn how to apply picture fills as slide backgrounds in PowerPoint 2013.


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Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2013
OS: Windows 7 and 8







For most of our presentations, we all use pictures so often! A picture in PowerPoint can be used in many ways -- as a picture you insert, as a picture you place within a shape, or even as something that covers the entire slide as a background. In this tutorial, we will look at the last option -- that lets you use a picture as a slide background. Before you begin, you need to put in plenty of thought into whether the picture you are using will work as a slide background or not? So how do you determine if a picture will work as a background or not? First of all, stay away from:

  • Pictures with areas representing many colors
  • Bright pictures
  • Pictures that have recognizable human faces
  • Pictures that "refuse" to stay in the background

Look at the slide on the top within Figure 1, below -- and then compare it with the slide at the bottom within the same figure -- on at least three of the four counts explained above, the top slide fails. The bottom slide has none of the inherent weaknesses mentioned above, and in fact works with text of almost all colors!

Choose your background pictures wisely
Figure 1: Choose your background pictures wisely

So what if you must use a certain picture for your slide background even if it is full of color, highly saturated, or even crowded? You can "mellow" the picture and use it, as explained in our Recolor Picture Backgrounds in PowerPoint 2013 tutorial.

Pictures and Textures -- What's the Difference?

In addition, you can also choose texture as you slide background fill. In this tutorial we cover picture fills for slide backgrounds, and will look at texture fills in a our Texture Fills for Slide Backgrounds in PowerPoint 2013 tutorial.

Before we go further, let us explore how picture fills are different from texture fills. Although both picture or texture fills work very similarly, choosing one option over the other can make the same background look so different. While a picture background results in your slide using a single picture as a backdrop, using a texture background can result in the same picture being tiled across the slide background. Also some pictures lend themselves better to being used as textures, especially if they are seamless.

To learn the difference between picture fills and texture fills, look at Figure 2 below -- the sample slide on the left uses a picture fill that fills the entire slide expanse while the sample slide on the right uses the same picture as a texture fill -- you can see that multiple tiles of the same picture form a texture fill.

Same picture used as a picture fill and a texture fill
Figure 2: Same picture used as a picture fill and a texture fill

Follow these steps to learn how you can use picture fills for your slide background in PowerPoint 2013:

  1. We assume you have a new presentation created, or you have opened any of your existing presentations. We also assume that you have summoned the Format Background Task Pane, as explained in our Format Slide Background tutorial. Alternatively, just right-click within an empty area of your slide and choose the Format Background option in the resultant contextual menu (highlighted in red with Figure 3) to bring up the same Task Pane.

    Summon the Format Background options
    Figure 3: Summon the Format Background options

  2. Within the Format Background Task Pane, select the Picture or Texture Fill radio button, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 4.

    Picture or Texture Fill radio button selected within the Format Background Task Pane
    Figure 4: Picture or Texture Fill radio button selected within the Format Background Task Pane

    When you select the Picture or Texture Fill radio button, you can see a live preview of your active slide with tiled texture fill. Make sure to deselect the Tile picture as texture check-box (marked as D in Figure 4, above). Deselecting this check-box will ensure that you apply a stretched picture fill. Your slide background will auto-update with any changes you make in the Format Background task pane. The options within the Format Background task pane are explained below, as marked in Figure 4, above:

    1. Insert picture from: You can choose from three options:

      1. File: Click this button to open the Insert Picture dialog box, as shown in Figure 5. Within this dialog box, navigate to the folder where the picture to be used as the slide fill is located, select it, and click the Insert button (highlighted in red within Figure 5).

        Insert Picture dialog box
        Figure 5: Insert Picture dialog box

      2. Clipboard: This option fills the slide background with the content of the Clipboard. If nothing is copied to the Clipboard, this button will be grayed out.

      3. Online: This bring up the Insert Pictures dialog box, as shown in Figure 6. Within this dialog box you'll find the online picture service providers listed - such as Office.com Clip Art, Bing Image Search, and from your SkyDrive account. Other than these services you can add pictures from your Facebook and Flickr accounts - but only after you connect to these accounts from within PowerPoint. Learn more in our Insert Online Pictures in PowerPoint 2013 tutorial.

        Insert Pictures dialog box with online picture services listed
        Figure 6: Insert Pictures dialog box with online picture services listed

    2. Texture: Click the down-arrow located in this area to bring up the Texture drop-down gallery, as shown in Figure 7. Choose from any of these ready to use textures to change the slide background of your slide. These textures are not high resolution, and may look blurred or pixelated when used as a fill. This however seem to work so much better as tiled texture fills, which we explain in our Texture Fills for Slide Backgrounds tutorial.

      Texture drop-down gallery within the Format Background pane
      Figure 7: Texture drop-down gallery within the Format Background pane

    3. Transparency: Control the transparency level of the picture you choose as a slide background fill. You can use either the slider or directly type in the required transparency value.

    4. Tile picture as texture: When deselected, this check-box ensures that your selected picture is used as a picture fill (full expanse) rather than a texture. Deselecting this check-box also brings up the Offset options that let you further edit the picture fill -- we explain this next.

    5. Offset options: These options show up in the Format Background task pane only when the Tile picture as texture check-box is deselected. There are four (left, right, top, and bottom) Offset adjustments in percentage values that enable you to adjust the picture edges along the slide background edges. Tweak as required -- if you don't like the results, you can set all these offset values back to their default 0% values.

  3. Choose any of the options explained in the preceding step to fill your active slide with the selected picture fill. Thereafter, you can proceed choosing any of the following options:

    1. Click the Apply to All button to fill all slides in the presentation with the selected picture.

    2. Click the Reset Background button to abandon all changes you made to the slide background.

    More details about the Apply to All and Reset Background buttons can be found in our Format Slide Background in PowerPoint 2013 tutorial.

  4. In Figure 8 you can see the slide background of the entire presentation filled with a picture.

    Presentation with a picture fill background
    Figure 8: Presentation with a picture fill background

  5. Remember to save your presentation often.

See Also:

Picture Fills for Slide Backgrounds in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Picture Fills for Slide Backgrounds in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

 

PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences:
PowerPoint 2013, 2011, 2010, 2007 and 2003

Have your ever used keyboard shortcuts and sequences in PowerPoint? Or are you a complete keyboard aficionado? Do you want to learn about some new shortcuts? Or do you want to know if your favorite keyboard shortcuts are documented?

Go and get a copy of our PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences E-Book.

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